Police Power & Control Wheel

Diane Wetendorf ©1998, rev. 2004. All rights reserved.

Police Officer Batterers — Tactics of Power and Control

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Police power and control wheel: Psychological threats, Training, Institutional power, Police response, Knowledge of law

Keeps her under his control without physical abuse. She's afraid he'll hurt her and anyone who helps her. Afraid he'll use the system against her: arrest, jail. Knows how to commit the perfect crime. No one will believe her word against word of an officer.
Control through intimidation; mere presence, stance, voice, uniform, badge, gun. Knows continuum of force: body as weapon, arm locks, choke holds, handcuffs, other "tools of the trade." Weapons available and he's trained to use them. Has investigative skills that enables him to get info about her or her friends.
Service providers untrained or unwilling to help. Abuser knows shelter locations; has access to information to track victim if she runs. Order of Protection difficult to get or keep. Remedies depend on police enforcement.
Gun, badge, brotherhood, judicial bias, access to information and equipment (i.e. phone taps, surveillance, tracking devices on car). No one in the system will help her; cops stick together. He knows how to circumvent the law and manipulate the legal system.
He IS the police. Fears police will respond to "officer in distress" instead of her. Colleagues use own discretion. Police report will reflect abuser's version of story. Police can fail to collect or preserve evidence.
He knows court procedures and personnel. Presents himself well in court: knows what to say and not to say. His profession confers credibility. Only what can be proven matters.

Diane Wetendorf ©1998, rev. 2014. All rights reserved.

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